Welcome to the web site for NOAA Research, NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

skip to content program navigation


Search  this web siteSEARCH  |  SITEMAP

Climate Research

An old saying expresses the thought that "climate is what you expect, weather is what you get." But what can we expect from the climate of the United States, and the whole world, in the coming decade — or even in the next millennium? As all life on Earth depends on a favorable climate to survive, that's an important question, a question that researchers at NOAA are trying to answer.

NOAA's research laboratories, Climate Program Office, and research partners conduct a wide range of research into complex climate systems and how they work. These scientists want to improve their ability to predict climate variation in both the shorter term, like cold spells or periods of drought, and over longer terms like centuries and beyond.

NOAA researchers will continue their consistent and uninterrupted monitoring of the Earth's atmosphere that can give us clues about long-term changes in the global climate. The data collected worldwide by NOAA researchers aids our understanding of, and ability to forecast changes in, complex climatic systems.

Using ever more powerful and sophisticated computer systems, NOAA researchers are working on numeric modeling of climate systems that will help improve the accuracy of climate forecasts.

"Are we barreling down a runaway route toward climatic catastrophe, or will the future bring relatively benign changes that will not threaten society?

The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will almost certainly cause Earth's surface temperature to rise. But we do not know how quickly the planet will warm or how that warming will affect different regions of the globe.

Answers to such questions will only come through intense research into the mysteries of Earth's climate system."